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What’s that Key?

We ran an article awhile back that focused on the Print Screen Key, a.k.a. “Prt Scn”. We got a really great response from this, but at the same time I had a lot of folks asking me what the heck “SysReq” was and what it was doing on the same key!


So, what does it all mean? Well, SysReq stands for System Request, which, at one time, was used to get the attention of a mainframe or central computer. Users of older IBM consoles would press the SysReq key to ask the central computer to permit input. Kind of like paging someone, only with a computer instead!

I wouldn’t try pressing the SysReq key and expecting anything amazing to happen, although Linux users can configure our mystery key to provide functions for system debugging and crash recovery. Leave it to the Linux users to keep things relevant!

Note: Not all keyboards have a SysReq key, so if you don’t, consider yourself modern!